If only a pig had wings...and creatures that actually do...
This week, some thoughts about creatures which can fly, and a critter that might have hoped that it could fly...
One evening last week, while yours truly was on a daily walkabout, I could hear the sounds of geese as they flew from the west.
I stopped, listened and watched as seven geese soared overhead, silhouettes in the approaching darkness of a winter night.
Most interesting, and a bit surprising, at least for my simple little mind, was that as geese flew directly overhead, the evening was so calm, quiet and still, I could hear the wings of the birds flapping. Never heard that before. Maybe it is the simple things, but I found the moment to be one of those little gems that we sometimes get to experience.
Now, let's turn our attention to a critter that might have been happy to have wings...
Seems that up until one afternoon last week, there was a pot-bellied pig on the loose in the metropolitan and suburban Ware area located in the Mississippi River bottomlands in western Union County.
Union County animal control officer Derk Wright explained that the fugitive, which he took to calling Wilbur (what else would you call a pig?), had been on the run for about a month or so. Wright had tried to apprehend Wilbur, to no avail.
One time, Wright explained, "I walked right up to him and touched his nose." Wilbur apparently was enjoying his freedom, so a touch on the nose was as good as it got.
Wilbur may have belonged to some folks who lived in Ware at one time, and might have raised pot-bellied pigs as pets. As sometimes happens in stories involving desperadoes, the details are a bit murky.
Last week, with a little help from postings on social media, along with word-of-mouth communications, eight or so folks journeyed to the bottomlands to attempt to bring the porker's days of freedom to an end.
The plan was for folks to gather, to form a human chain and, hopefully, to nab Wilbur. "He'll get a treat tonight, if we catch him," Wright promised.
Not wanting to miss such an exciting event, yours truly headed to the bottomlands last Thursday afternoon. The day was unseasonably mild for the 15th day of February. And it was windy. Goodness, was it windy. So windy that the words I was writing on my notepad were blowing off the paper, so some of the details of this adventure are in a field down by Ware. If you happen to find them, send them along. Or, use them to start your own Great American Novel, 'cause I haven't had any luck doing such a thing yet.
While on the way to Ware, just as I was heading into town, I actually spotted Wilbur while he was on the move. Wilbur seemed to have a sense of purpose and determination about him. He appeared to know where he wanted to go.
I quickly pulled into a parking lot and stopped the car. Wilbur strolled closer. I rolled down the window on the driver's side of the car.
Wilbur stopped, too. Not far from the car. We looked at each other. It briefly occurred to me that I had never interviewed a fugitive pig. "Are you the pig?" I asked. Wilbur grunted. What else would a pig do? After his terse response, Wilbur was on the move again.
He paused for a rest by some boats which were parked behind the old grade school building in Ware. Then, Wilbur was on the move again. The pursuit began.
Well, Wilbur kept on going. And going. And going. About a mile or so, I think. With pursuers on his heels, or hooves, all the way.
Finally, Wilbur may have just gotten worn out. Some of the folks who were helping with the pursuit caught up with the pig and wrestled him to the ground.
Wilbur ended up behind bars. Literally. He was given some water. Lots of pictures were taken. Wright hopes that Wilbur will be adopted. Maybe by somebody who likes free spirits.
After he was apprehended, Wilbur was headed to the county's animal control shelter, which is located along Kaolin Road, between Anna and Cobden. At least he wouldn't be alone, though. A couple of other pot-bellied pigs were already at the shelter, no doubt waiting for some company.
On, just in case you are wondering...no pigs were harmed in the creation of this column.